How boomers are influencing the future of brand communications

For decades, digital brand communication has danced around younger generations - the golden calves - while older generations acted as the social tone-setters. A prosumer report by Havas has examined moments of change and shows that brands and companies can create decisive advantages for themselves in the future with generation-sensitive concepts.

Brands need to strike the right note

When addressing boomers, brands need to leave stereotypes behind - because two-thirds of them don't want to be specifically addressed as "older". Indeed, around 75 percent of those over 55 believe that age is a matter of attitude rather than physical features. Accordingly, two-thirds of the boomers surveyed prefer brands that are not targeted at a specific generation. At the product level, on the other hand, this generation would like companies to tailor their products and services much more closely to their needs. For example, nearly half of those over 55 agree with the following statement: "I expect my favorite brands to adapt their products and services to fit me as I get older." For brands, this tension will mean finding the right balance between universal communication and age-appropriate offerings in the future.

Brand communication can overcome generation gaps

As early as 2020, the Havas Prosumer Reports revealed a growing divide between the generations. The main points of contention are climate change and younger generations' sense that their future - economically and environmentally - is in bad shape. While Millennials credit Boomers with the activism of their youth, a significant share are willing to blame the older generation for a range of ills, including resource depletion from overconsumption (40%), environmental damage (29%), and debt among younger generations (25%).

This discord is compounded by the fact that both generations are increasingly living culturally separate lives, which means that there is less knowledge about and understanding of each other. The younger generation, for example, surrounds itself largely with user-generated, global content and codes that are not accessible to the boomer generation.

"Brands today are well advised to address the tensions between generations in order to identify the greatest possible common denominators. This is especially true for broad-based brands - because with cross-generational themes, brands can not only help reconcile generations, they can play into the relevant set of both younger and older people," explains Sandra Onofri, Group Strategy Director at Havas Germany.

The Havas Prosumer Report "The Future of Aging" is part of a study that Havas has been conducting for more than 16 years. The report is based on a global survey of nearly 12,000 people in 28 markets, with a focus on so-called prosumers, the leading influencers and market shapers of tomorrow.

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